Playing favourites

The preference tickets for above-the-line upper house votes are now available courtesy of the South Australian Electoral Office. Antony Green has crunched the numbers and concluded that Family First’s Dennis Hood is looking good; that the Greens and Democrats are in direct competition for a place that will almost certainly go to the former; and that a preference swap between the two means No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon must do well enough on the primary vote plus preferences to reach a quota before the swap comes into play (unless the Greens do well enough to get elected early, in which case he will get Democrats preferences). Xenophon’s only direct sources of preferences are from the minor candidates who appear on the second row of the ballot paper, who Antony tells us accounted for less than 0.2 per cent of the vote in 2002. That number should be higher this time due to the the crop of former and current major party MPs who are contesting as independents, of whom Peter Lewis and Ralph Clarke are sending preferences straight to Xenophon.

Antony’s calculations are built on broad assumptions about the overall vote outcome, of which the only one that is inconsistent with my expectations is that Xenophon will poll "around 1-3%". No doubt Saturday’s Advertiser poll showing No Pokies on 10 per cent was way off the mark, but Xenophon’s popularity seems genuine enough that he should poll at least at the higher end of Antony’s scale. Antony is also sticking with the likely outcome of five seats for Labor and four for Liberal while countenancing the unlikely possibilities of one extra in each case. If I am correct in my hunch that Xenophon will get through on his own strength, someone will have to miss out somewhere – either the fifth Labor candidate, the fourth Liberal, the stronger performer out of the Greens and the Democrats, or Family First.

What follows is a simplified guide to the preferences of the various players (listed in ballot paper order), stripped of marginal candidates and obfuscations. Of the latter there are relatively few, with only Peter Lewis’s ticket sending numbers all over the shop. I have excluded all lists with only one candidate, with exceptions made for current and former MPs Peter Lewis, Ralph Clarke and Terry Cameron. Speaking of minor players, I am very surprised to discover that the No Rodeo Cruelty group is not in the race – on my recent visit to Adelaide I was struck by the extent of its poster coverage, which was almost comparable to the major parties, but a lack of political nous has apparently led it to concentrate its efforts on the lower house where it will wield little or no influence.

One Nation: Shooters Party; Family First; Peter Lewis; No Pokies; Dignity for Disabled; Nationals; 50% Liberal, 50% Labor; Democrats; Greens; Terry Cameron; Ralph Clarke.

Family First: Nationals; One Nation; Shooters Party; Peter Lewis; Dignity for Disabled; Terry Cameron; Liberal; No Pokies; Labor; Ralph Clarke; Democrats; Greens.

Labor: Greens; Family First; Dignity for Disabled; Shooters Party; No Pokies; Democrats; Nationals; Ralph Clarke; Liberal; Peter Lewis; Terry Cameron; One Nation.

Liberal: Family First; Dignity for Disabled; Nationals; Democrats; No Pokies; Terry Cameron; Shooters Party; Peter Lewis; Ralph Clarke; Labor; Greens; One Nation.

Nationals: Family First; Liberal; Democrats; No Pokies; Shooters Party; Labor; Greens; Ralph Clarke; Dignity for Disabled; Peter Lewis; One Nation; Terry Cameron.

Shooters Party: Family First; One Nation; Nationals; Peter Lewis; Labor; Liberal; Greens; No Pokies; Dignity for Disabled; Terry Cameron; Ralph Clarke; Democrats.

Greens: Ralph Clarke; Peter Lewis; Democrats; No Pokies; Labor; Dignity for Disabled; Terry Cameron; Nationals; Shooters Party; Liberal; One Nation; Family First.

No Pokies: Ralph Clarke; Dignity for Disabled; 50% Greens, 50% Democrats; Nationals; Peter Lewis; Terry Cameron; Shooters Party; 50% Liberal, 50% Labor; Family First; One Nation.

Democrats: Dignity for Disabled; Greens; No Pokies; Ralph Clarke; 50% Liberal, 50% Labor; Nationals; Peter Lewis; Family First; Terry Cameron; Shooters Party; One Nation.

Dignity for Disabled: Democrats; Shooters Party; Family First; No Pokies; Greens; Peter Lewis; Ralph Clarke; Nationals; Liberal; Labor; Terry Cameron; One Nation.

Terry Cameron: Family First; Democrats; No Pokies; Greens; Dignity for Disabled; Shooters Party; Liberal; Labor; Nationals; One Nation; Peter Lewis; Ralph Clarke.

Peter Lewis: Nick Xenophon (No Pokies); Family First; One Nation; Shooters Party; Ann Bressington (No Pokies); Dignity for Disabled; Nationals; Democrats; Greens; Ralph Clarke; Terry Cameron; Liberal; Labor.

Ralph Clarke: No Pokies; Labor; Greens; Democrats; Dignity for Disabled; Peter Lewis; Shooters Party; Nationals; Terry Cameron; Liberal; Family First; One Nation.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

53 comments on “Playing favourites”

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  1. Paul, I see Tasmania as the leader in environmental policies (Greens) and probably as progressive socially if not more then SA.
    SA has never had a truly progressive government, (ALP is NOT progressive anymore), Tas has had two.

  2. You are using data from the wrong state, NSW is probably the most left leaning state in Australian politics, while SA is one of the more right leaning. In NSW, the liberals have only been in power for about 6 (I think) of the last 24 (?) years.

    7 of the past 30. But SA has a similar record with the Libs having only been in power for 11 of the 36 years (going on 40?) since 1970.

    As for a progressive state govt, the name Don Dunstan springs to mind.

  3. I’m not sure why the Democrats keep obsessing about Family First and giving them free publicity. The dems are under much more threat from the Greens and Xenophon then Family First.

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